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Graphic Organizers in the Classroom Essay

In general, graphic classroom organizers believes that in general students learns best when they are trained to use graphic organizers because it represents knowledge in a visual way that helps students think about and organize information so they can better understand or remember it. Maddux and Johnson (2006) assert that authentic instructions “are based on the premise that students’ work in the classroom should prepare them for the intellectual tasks that will be demanded of them as adults” (p. 120).

Popp (1997) cited researchers findings that students “realize the greatest instructional benefits from using graphic organizers when they are trained how to use them and have opportunities to construct their own” (p. 50). According to Popp, graphic organizers help students find useful way of exploring ideas on their in their journals. Popp emphasized that graphic organizers indeed provides a greater benefits for students in order for them to explore effectively all areas of learning and it encourages them to apply their learning with new ideas.

In other words, graphic organizers is seen as great resource for effectively transmit knowledge to students. Popp stated, “When students meet together in small groups, graphic organizers help focus discussion on main ideas” (p. 50). Two forms of the so-called graphic organizers in the classroom verses questioning strategies in the classroom are the Microsoft’s Anytime Anywhere Learning Program and the Mind Map. The Microsoft Anytime Anywhere Learning Program (Microsoft AALP) is an approach to education through the use of computer technology.

Maddux and Johnson emphasized that with the “decreasing computer prices and the advent of wireless networks, laptops are becoming feasible options” (p. 122). On the other hand, Wilfong, Szoles, and Haus (2007) define Mind Map as “a study technique that uses pictures charts and graphs to enhance memory” (p. 52). According to them, the Mind Map increases one’s thinking skills by “generating ideas, and composing and connecting those ideas that appear related to make a coherent whole” (Wilfong, Szolis, & Haus 2007, p.

52). Compare and contrast While graphic organizers have many things in common such as what has been mentioned earlier, there are obvious differences between the two. The Microsoft AALP promotes the use of computers and laptops in the class room while the Mind Map, as defined above, uses pictures, charts, and graphs in enhancing the student’s learning capacity. Obviously, the Microsoft AALP is more expensive but is more sophisticated approach than the Mind Map.

Based on the current trend of the society however, the uses of laptops in the classrooms are more effective learning tools compare to non-laptop classroom, including the Mind Map. Maddux and Johnson noted the result of the classroom observations conducted by researchers in seven classrooms. Citing the results of the study, Maddux and Johnson puts it, In general, strategies promoting learner activity, such as cooperative learning, inquiry, sustained writing, and computer uses were more likely to be observed in laptop classrooms.

They also noted significant differences in the following areas: (a) project-based learning, 65 % in laptop classrooms versus 22% in non-laptop classrooms, (b) independent inquiry/research 58% in laptop classrooms versus 24% in non-laptop classrooms, and (c) the use of computer as a learning tool 88% in laptop classrooms versus 17% in non-laptop classrooms (p. 123). On the other hand, the Mind Maps are visual tools that enable learners to make connections among ideas and concepts, assisting the learner in identifying relationships in their thinking.

According to Booth and Swartz (2004), “The structure of mind maps is similar to the way the brain sorts and stores information. These graphic organizers can facilitate the development of metacognition, helping students to be conscious of their own thinking strategies during the act of problem solving” (p. 48). Apparently, aside from costs and sophistication of the Microsoft AALP, the differences between the two are seen in terms of the students’ participation.

In the Microsoft AALP, students are provided with a tool that has built up or stored knowledge ready to be explored while in the Mind Map, students need to analyze problems and situation using pictures, charts and graphs to enhance memories. Booth and Swartz pointed out that not only can the mind map deepen the students understanding of the concepts they are learning, “but they also can provide opportunities for educators to gain valuable insight into their students’ learning. Mind maps can help the brain to organize ideas and think more creatively” (Booth, D. & Swartz, L. 2004, p. 48).

Basically, the differences between the two are the skills involved. The Microsoft AALP requires technological skills while the Mind Map requires the analytical skills. The negatives however, proved a big deal also. Fitzgerald, Orey and Branch (2002) noted that while Microsoft AALP provides a sophisticated option for learning, it is very costly. Fitzgerald, Orey, and Branch stated, “However, despite the creative educational possibilities of laptops and promise of equitable access for all students, added costs in the form of hardware, network costs, technical support considerations, and faculty training remain the greatest obstacles” (p.

82). Because of this, Fitzgerald, Orey, and Branch pointed out that there is a growing concerns that laptop programs “may worsen technology inequities among students for families who are unable to assume these costs” (p. 82). Contrary to the Microsoft AALP, the Mind Map, though not may be as appealing as the Microsoft AALP, yet it is not expensive but is also effective. This graphic organizer requires very simple resources but everybody can avail and enjoy it. References Booth, D. & Swartz, L.

(2004) Literacy Techniques Canada: Pembroke Publishers Fitzgerald, M. , Orey, M. & Branch R. (2002) Educational Media and Technology Yearbook U. S. A: Libraries Unlimited Maddux, C. D. & Johson, D. L. (2006) Classroom Integration of Type II Uses of Technology in Education USA: Haworth Press Popp, M. (1997) Learning Journals in the K-8 Classroom USA: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc. Wilfong, D. , Szolis, C. & Haus, C. (2007) Nursing School Success USA: Jones and Bartlett Publisher, Inc.

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